09 September, 2009

Purple Swamphen

Scientific Name: Porphyrio porphyrio

Population Estimate: 250K - 2.2M

Range / Habitat: Found on inland wetlands in the Mediterranean, Africa, tropical Asia, north and east Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

Field Notes: Medium-sized waterbird with purple underparts, dusky head and upper parts. Red face shield and bill. Dusky Moorhen smaller, lacking purple underparts, yellow tip to bill. 

Personal Notes: One of our favorite birds in New Zealand, not the least because of its oversized feet. Also known as Pukeko in New Zealand / Maori. Then, we saw these again in Wellington, Florida -- thought we were looking at Purple Gallinule but the mask / legs weren't right. Sure enough, Sibley set us straight. There is an established Eurasian population in southern Florida. They seem to be doing well and we were happy to see our Pukeko again. 

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